troperville

tools

toys

SubpagesFilm
Headscratchers
Main
NightmareFuel
Trivia
YMMV

main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Film: Insidious

Insidious is a 2011 thriller/horror film from the creators of Saw.

Josh and Renai have three children, the oldest being ten-year-old Dalton. As they begin to settle into a new home, they experience strange noises and other unexplained phenomena. Soon Dalton is rushed to the hospital in a coma, suffering a severe head injury after falling in the attic. Months slip by, and the doctors still have no explanation for his continuing coma. When the boy is returned home under his mother's care, more frightening events occur in the home. The mother is so horrified that she moves the family to a another new home in hopes of leaving the fearful memories behind them.

The family quickly discovers that the haunting has nothing to do with their home. The supernatural outpouring is coming from their comatose son. Several scientific experts observe the son, the family and their home. They determine that Dalton is trapped on the other side in a dark world they call The Further. The parents team with the scientists to try to bring their boy back from The Further and save him from the clutches of a dark entity that hopes to claim him as his own.

A sequel, Insidious: Chapter 2, was released on September (Friday the) 13th, 2013. It follows on from the events of the first film.


This film provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Parker Crane's mother dresses him up as a girl. No wonder he turns out to be so messed up.
  • Adult Fear: Most of the first half of the movie runs on this - your child being injured and screaming while you have no idea where he is, in an unfamiliar home; same child falling into a coma after you sort of dismiss his head wound; the door being broken open, chain snapped and alarm blaring seconds after you check that no one is outside; strange people appearing in your children's rooms...
    • In Chapter 2, once again the baby monitor picks up speech from the baby's room. This time however, the door slams shut with the ghost inside, and when it finally opens the child is nowhere to be found.
  • Alien Geometries: Accessible only through astral projection, way too big to be mapped and it takes minutes to travel miles.
  • And I Must Scream: A few of them exist from the residents of the Further, given its nature. In Chapter 2, Josh cries out with a piano-bang Jump Scare when Parker Crane prevents him from attempting to contact his family from within the Further-version of his home.
  • Astral Projection: How Dalton gets lost in The Further, and Josh gets him back.
  • Badass Beard: Tucker, the tall paranormal team member, has one.
  • Big Bad: The demon in the first film.
    • The sequel has Parker Crane.
    • Bigger Bad: Parker Crane's mother in the sequel.
  • Call Back: Chapter 2 shows us who was randomly knocking on the door and how it was left wide open before the family moved as Josh's spirit.
    • Young Josh's astral projection sequence from the beginning of the film gets explained twice. Elise lampshades it.
  • Casting Gag: In 2013's The Conjuring, Patrick Wilson plays Ed Warren a paranormal investigator who intervenes to save a woman possessed by a demon from killing her own children. In Chapter 2 (made by the same director and released less than three months later), he plays a man possessed by a demon and compelled to kill his own children, before paranormal investigators intervene.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The Bride in Black, Parker Crane, who has a small role in the first film and is the central antagonist in the second film.
  • Cool Old Lady: Elise, and Lorraine, to lesser extent.
  • Creepy Crossdresser - The Bride in Black is revealed to be this in the second film.
  • Creepy Child: The demon first appears to Renai in the form of a little boy. The cover art also seemed to imply that Dalton was this. Unless you look at his pupil which says Help. , though that's not really the case in-film.
  • Creepy Good: Elise is a creepy old lady with Psychic Powers who talks about Things Man Was Not Meant to Know as if she's discussing the weather...but she's legitimately trying to help the protagonists save their kid from evil spirits.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: For the first film.
  • Crosscast Role: The old woman haunting Josh is played by a man. Becomes a plot point in the second film.
  • Daylight Horror: The demon first appears to Lorraine in the front room of her second house in the middle of a sunny afternoon.
    • Same for Chapter 2 with the Woman in White. She appears to Renai, nearly steals the baby, and knocks her out in the full bright of day.
  • Demonic Possession: With Dalton's mind elsewhere, it leaves his body open to this. Josh as well.
  • Downer Ending: Josh is possessed by an old woman from The Further he encountered as a child and kills Elise.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Insidious 2; Josh is finally freed from his possession and Carl hypnotizes him and Josh into forgetting their astral projection abilities, severing the family's ties to The Further for good.
  • Fake American: Australians Angas Sampson, Leigh Whannell, and Rose Byrne (as Tucker, Specs, and Renai respectively).
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The little ghost boy can be briefly seen before his more obvious appearances. He's simply standing facing a wall.
    • In the sequel, the Mother can likewise be seen sitting down quietly before Renai encounters her.
  • Freudian Excuse: See Abusive Parents.
  • Genre Savvy: To paraphrase Something Awful, "this is one of the few haunted house movies where the protagonists try moving." Of course, since it's not actually the house that's haunted, this doesn't help them.
    • Renai suggests moving again in the second film, only for Possessed!Josh to shoot down the idea, since it didn't work the first time. In this case, Subverted in that she was Genre Savvy in regards to haunted house movies, but not this series.
  • Grand Theft Me: Between Josh and the Bride in Black.
  • Haunted House: Subverted. The Lamberts only think they have this problem.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: It's full of the souls of the dead forced to relive their deaths. And it also leads to Hell.
  • In the Blood: Dalton's ability to astral project was inherited from Josh. His ability may have come from his mother.
  • Jump Scare: This film is filthy with them.
    • On the DVD special features, in a short documentary called "Horror 101", the creators say they were specifically trying to avoid the conventional "jump scare" which comes out of nowhere, carries no suspense whatsoever, and has no real meaning or effect on the plot; all the jump scares in Insidious are quite carefully built up to, and all of them serve to further the story.
  • My Beloved Smother: Parker Crane has this.
  • My Nayme Is: "Cali" (Cally) and "Renai" (Renée).
  • New House New Problems: Actually happens twice, after the family tries moving.
    • And when they leave their second house while the police work on it, their third house becomes haunted as well.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Seriously, nice one, Josh
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: Subverted
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Some fans agreed the Dancing Boy scene is actually the scariest part. Why? 1) It happened during the sunny day instead of darky night; 2) It's just unnerving if you imagine a little kid appears in your house out of nowhere and wandering your house mischievously; 3) He even hides in the comatose Dalton's room's closet! Imagine if your child is in the same room with an entity from another world. Doubles with Adult Fear, certainly; 4) For some people, a ghost in little kid's form can be scarier than ghost in adult form. Although, yes I know, the Dancing Boy isn't actually malicious entity in the film; 5) Well, just see the Freeze-Frame Bonus in main entry. Unless your eyes are sharp enough, you probably won't even realize he was there in the first place; 6) This is also the first scene which made the song "Tiptoe through the Tulips" become scary in the film. Later when this song is played again, you know something bad is going to happen.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Done by the Smiling Family.
  • Oh Crap: Elise, given her usual demeanor and motions in dealing with the supernatural, gives this face when something more sinister than imaginable comes into play. And, given her reaction at the end of Chapter 2...
  • Our Demons Are Different
  • Poke in the Third Eye: Elise receives a particularly brutal one from the demon during a seance. She survives it none too worse for the wear though.
  • Possession Burnout: Josh's body begins to deteriorate after being possessed by the Bride in Black. It returns to normal when his soul returns to his body.
  • Psycho Strings: Other than the Soundtrack Dissonance, pretty much the entire soundtrack in the second half of the film.
  • Scare Chord: Plenty of them.
  • Shout-Out: In a scene where we see Josh behind his teacher's desk in the classroom, the face drawn in chalk on the blackboard is the puppet from Saw.
    • In the scene where Elise tries to make contact with a dreaming Dalton, the gas mask she puts on looks exactly like the one used by Dream of the Endless.
  • Slasher Smile: A few of the spirits have them, most notably the Doll Girls.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: "Tiptoe to the window, by the window, that is where I'll be, come tiptoe through the tulips with me..."
    • "Row, row, row your boat . . ."
  • Spooky Photographs: In the first chapter, these signify the ever approaching presence of the Old Woman in Black throughout the photos of Josh, and sets up the unfortunate reveal at its' end. In the second, while his body is occupied by the spirit, Josh consults his younger self—taking place in 1986—while in The Further, setting himself as the spirit when caught in a recorded still of that moment!
  • Spooky Seance: Elise convinces the family to try this so she can bring back Dalton's spirit.
  • Supernatural Proof Father: At first. Later it is revealed that the reason he was ignoring the evidence was that he too was haunted.
  • Those Two Guys: Tucker and Specs.
  • Title Drop
  • Took a Level in Badass: Dalton, in the sequel. He saves his mother from being killed by a possessed Josh with a ball bat before diving into the Further to lead his father back to his body.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Josh... twice in a row. Before entering the Further he was very clearly told that he must act stealthy. Of course, once inside he questioned every being he met. So much for being stealthy. Then once back in his house, before going back to his body, he met the Old Lady that tried to possess him when he was 8. With not much time left, he chose to yell at her (while she wasn't in any position to do something harmful against him or someone he cares about) instead of continuing on his way. In the end, the few seconds he lost prevented him from coming back in our world, and lead to Elise's demise.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: "It's not the house that's haunted, it's your son."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The other two kids don't really appear again after the family moves into the second house.
    • For that matter, the young boy apparition disappears halfway through the film.
  • Wolverine Claws: The Big Bad has them.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Parker Crane who inspite of his monstrous actions is pitiable courtesy his horrible backstory.
  • X Meets Y: Poltergeist meets A Nightmare on Elm Street.

InsideHorror FilmsInsomnia
The InbetweenersFilms of the 2010sIn the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds

alternative title(s): Insidious
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
28858
33